Sunday, April 13, 2008

Small Business Charleston... and San Francisco

Last week I found out people actually read this blog. (I'm never sure if it's just my family members who are reading it, because for whatever reason the only person who has ever commented on any post is my good brother-in-law Eric.) I guess I'd better update it more frequently!

The way I found out that people were reading it is this: on Thursday I visited my dentist, the excellent Dr. Yon, for a sudden pain in one of my teeth (which he handily diagnosed and is correcting), and found out that at least two new patients have come to him as a result of seeing my recommendation for him as Charleston's best dentist. Hoorah! I'm certain they're being treated very well and will continue to gladly enjoy Dr. Yon's services for many years to come.

So... that means I should update this blog more often, which I am happy to do since I now know it's not languishing in obscurity!

I'm actually about to embark on an e-newsletter project with several other professionals, so this blog will remain more personal and lighthearted. The professional topics I'd been storing up for it will now appear in the e-newsletter, which will come out every month and is tentatively titled Small Business Charleston. Not surprisingly given that title, it's for small businesses in Charleston specifically, with short columns of a few paragraphs each filled with practical tips you can actually use... from a local business strategy expert, local public relations expert, local small business attorney, local graphic designer (yours truly), local web designer (also yours truly), local benefits expert, and even a local parenting expert for the small business professional's "off" hours... well, as many of "off hours" as a small business pro can muster! Many or most of the columns will be about Charleston's business environment specifically, but there will also be some with national or even international reach, too, for those Charleston-based businesses who serve customers all over the nation or world.

If you'd like to sign up to receive it, shoot me an email at (It's free, of course. You can unsubscribe at any time, no one else will see your email address, and we won't share your email address with anyone else, with the exception of the email service we'll use---who will also not share your email address with anyone.) Our target launch date is the first week of May.

And if there's a particular topic you'd like to see covered, send that my way too! Nancy (Aio's newest graphic designer) and I are the founders and informal editors-in-chief of the e-newsletter, so we'll share your idea with the columnist who would be best suited to address it. But don't feel like you have to go through us; you can email each columnist directly as well, as their contact information will be included with each edition.

One last word, which I write as a person who moved to Charleston and started a business here: please know that you don't have to reside in Charleston to subscribe the newsletter. If you're located elsewhere in South Carolina or the Southeastern coast, or if you have a dream to move to Charleston and start a business, by all means, sign up! In the case of the former, much of the content will be applicable to cities and towns in this beautiful region; in the case of the latter, it can give you a head start on the Charleston market.

Upcoming events: don't miss the semi-annual Design Walk on upper King Street the evening of Thursday the 17th! I try never to miss it, and each walk has gotten better: more participating shops, more lavish hors d'oeuvres, etc. Patrick is still exclaiming over the free icy bottles of Heineken given out at the last walk. Last time I came away with a fabulously soft terrycloth robe in celery green from Nancy Koltes at Home and a couple of designer items for Monty at Three Dog Bakery... plus you already know, from my previous post, of the great steal we obtained from Leigh at Dwelling! (Unnnghh... someone at Dwelling please contact me about designing a website for you! My repeated searches on Google for your website have all come up empty. It's frustrating because you have such a beautiful store!)

Anyway, enough about that for now... for more details, scroll down to see a more complete review of the first such walk I attended.

Other upcoming events: the week after next, I'm flying out to San Francisco to attend the Web 2.0 Expo. It's next door to Silicon Valley, and it's all about the cutting edge in terms of web design, development, strategy, web-based social marketing, etc. There are people flying in from all over the world: so far I've spotted folks from Switzerland, Japan, South Korea, China, Canada, the United Kingdom, Eastern Europe, Central and South America, etc. I'm already slated to hook up with several attendees, thanks to the conference's innovative CrowdVine site, and can't wait!

Strangely, so far I'm not only the only graphic/web designer from Charleston who will be attending but the only *person* from Charleston... I know of one other person in the state of South Carolina who's coming, actually, but he's from Greenville. Hopefully the other folks in our good state are simply holding out for the New York edition of the conference, which takes place later this year. I picked San Francisco because I figured that's going to be where the real action is, and so far that looks to be true!

I'll be writing about what I've picked up in the above-mentioned Small Business Charleston, and while I'm gone, Nancy and Amy will be holding down the fort. I'll be checking in with them at least once each day to answer any questions they can't, so don't worry, if this is the case when you call, they'll call you back within 24 hours with the goods. I fly out on Monday the 21st and return very early in the morning on Saturday the 26th---I'm flying AirTran overnight.

Then, first thing the following Monday morning... jury duty. Hoorah! Hopefully it will be a short case or will be dismissed. I'm tempted to plead that as a small business owner returning after a week away, my presence is pretty crucial at work, but I need to do my civic duty, and there will always be some reason not to do it, so I must keep a stiff upper lip. Bless all those people who have done jury duty in the past!

Next time... another of Charleston's best firms.